Saturday, January 31, 2015

  Deflated pigskin, not enough to kick New England out of Super Bowl 49,
Marshawn Lynch wears a Beast Mode hat to "talk to" the press,
     From the League that gave us concussions, domestic violence, and the drugging of injured players,
Rules - women and children - were made to be broken; we shouldn't expect anything less.
     How convenient! The "Deflategate" investigation won't be completed by February 1st?
One infraction major, the other minor in my mind,
    Cheating to get to the championship game versus violating an off field dress code,
I'm curious as to who, if anyone, the NFL decides will be fined.
     My guess is neither, or one or both lightly,
Think of it as a Penalty Kiss,
     If the Patriots win, finding them culpable will be prohibited,
No one awards a trophy and then metes out a dis.
     There's another game in town, perhaps no coincidence,
The Tigerless Waste Management Phoenix Open,
     All kidding aside, clean up's what the golf sponsor does,
Perhaps a hint - or at least, here's hopin'!
Karen Ann DeLuca

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fallout from the War on Women

I was warm and toasty, 
curled up, napping 
in amniotic fluid, 
without a worry 
when suddenly 
this metal thing
came into my room 

poked around 
and pulled me out.
The doctor stabbed me, 
smashed my head,
cut off my arms and legs,  
threw my pieces 
in a bucket 
with the others.
It's been a busy day
at the clinic.

At the closing hour,
a nurse dumped 
the bucket
in a freezer sack,
took it out in the alley
and threw it in a bin.
In the morning 
a private truck 

took the sack to 
the garbage dump.
The driver tossed it 
on the highest pile, 
launching flies,
at least a thousand. 

Sitting up here now
I can tell you 
I don't need arms or legs. 
I can hear 
the angels singing.

Donal Mahoney

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Make It Count

There is always one more
until there isn’t.
One more second.
One more minute.
One more moment.
One more kiss.
One more laugh.
One more hour.
One more day.
One more trip.
One more conversation.
One more week.
One more meal.
One more moon.
One more month.
One more dawn.
One more sunrise.
One more year.
One more smile.
One more gentle touch.
One more pillow talk.
One more family reunion.
One more good-bye.
One more hello.
One more century.
One more precession.
One more Big Bang.
One more evolution.
One more extinction.
There is always one more
until there isn’t.

Thus Spoke the Grave Digger

Nietzsche said:
That which does not kill you
only makes you stronger.
This may well be true
for those who have strong wills.
But what he forgot to take into account
is all the people who face an avalanche
and then spend the rest of their days buried alive.

Scott Thomas Outlar 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

     Athletes using women and children to practice their "hits,"
The better to be able to concuss an opponent's brain?
     Deflated pigskin, not enough to kick New England out of Super Bowl 49,
Why do fans stand for this and not show disdain? 

     Because the NFL, our most popular sport, represents "who we are,"
Violence used to assert power and achieve cultural bliss,
     Betting the reward outweighs the risk, do "whatever," knowing if caught,
Any penalties, if incurred, will be sealed with a kiss. 

     Campus rapes, sexual assault in the military, hush-hush, consequences comic,
Unarmed Black males killed by white cops, the "rule of law" allows to go free,
     The Federal Government bails out institutions "too big to fail," but their imprudence continues,
Fines for infractions regarded as a mere "cost of doing business" fee. 

     Iraq. EITs. Bush 43 & Company convinced with convoluted cognition,
No wonder this behavior persists, it's top down and exists as a matter of course,
     Accepted everywhere like AMEX, viewed as the VISA to success,
No sustained one with the balls to stand up for integrity to enforce. 

     The aptly named Patriots got to Phoenix the American Way,
Relanguaged cheating has no consequences and no blame,
     What's that old saying that must be turning over in its grave?
'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

Karen Ann DeLuca

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FOR NAZIM HIKMET       [Stefanie Bennett]
No. I won’t talk to the angel. Not yet.
I’m responsible
For lifting the blindfold,
For the sun’s cauterised dart,
For the fountain pen’s fury.
He kicked the steeple’s projection
And sat
In the void he’d discerned
Via a rainbow’s coccyx.
Unperturbed, Orion’s belt buckle
Fell, chuckling,
... And cleansed
The sod
From his feet.
THE LAST DAY    [Stefanie Bennett]
.... After I have conquered some
Of the world’s ills in my fashion.
After I have climber what’s left
Of the parasitical plot and attempted
                               To bring it down.
After the unwanted-wanted posters
Have yellowed and curled so
That my name’s been struck off
The records, the too-public records
And... I’ve greyed a little,
And shrunk a lot,
And my hands have lost
                            Their bitter cures,
Will you, once again, take me in –;
Take me in and not mind
This new stranger
As your lover of old?
Once I’ve been pensioned out – yes!
I’m aware that it will happen.
Once it’s known that what seemed
Scholarly and spectacular was no more
                               Than someone held
Hostage by an everyday innocence.
Once I design... the final line
And I’ve nothing left
To do, say, or display -
Will you find it in you to
Forgive the neglect
I shelved for you alone?
Will you
                ... Forget that
I served but one light – ,
And that it was your light?
Will you mind, mind my return
- And keep this
Gypsy poet company?
RESTITUTIONS     [Stefanie Bennett]
The town-hall clock
Has dropped
Its hands –, it has
A habit
Of doing that.
Always –, but
... Defeatists.
Reaction to an Editor's Suggested Revisions

Yours is the first email I opened this morning. I was surprised to see your name since I had forgotten about the piece I had submitted a year ago. Time does fly. 

I appreciate your suggested revisions and invitation to re-submit the work once I have made the revisions. I can tell that you spent a lot of time analyzing my efforts. 

I'm afraid, however, that I can't make the changes you suggest. Nevertheless I feel obligated to compensate you for your time. 

It is to that end that I took your name to Rebecca. I showed her your suggestions and she said that your name would be introduced at the next gathering of her coven. She asked if I had any suggestions for revisions to your life. I said I did and that she might want to take notes.

I said I thought it might be best to have your organs rot one organ at a time. I added, however, that while your organs rot slowly in series, your heart should remain strong so you can die at a leisurely pace. We don't want to rush this. 

She said that could be arranged although it was an unusual request. In similar cases in dispatching someone who has grievously insulted another, usually the insulted party wants the insulter eliminated immediately. I'm unusual, she said, in that respect.

I told her I didn't want to be heartless and have you die before you have a chance to put your affairs in order. And I reminded her not to inflict cancer on your pancreas too early because medicine has no certain cure for that. In short order, cancer of the pancreas usually means lights out. 

I suggested she start with your gall bladder and move on to your kidneys and then your lungs and then your brain. That will keep the doctors busy while you waste away. I suggested she save your pancreas for last. 

I also asked her to let me know when your pancreas becomes involved so I can make plane reservations to come and say good-bye.

In the meantime, may your next issue be stillborn. No reason to make it different from the last. 

Donal Mahoney

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bachelorette for Life

It started in eighth grade, much to the chagrin of her parents. Boys in high school started asking Roslyn for dates. And Roslyn would tell them they would have to ask her father. And he always said no.

“You’re too young to go out with boys, Roslyn,” he would say. “On that subject, your mother and I completely agree. Wait till you’re older.” 

In high school, young men in college discovered Roslyn and they too asked her out. She would tell them that although she was allowed to date boys in high school now, her parents wouldn’t let her go out with college “men,” as her mother called them.

“College men are too old for you, Roslyn,” her mother said more than once and twice her father chimed in with his one-word agreement. 


When Roslyn went to college, some of the graduate assistants and young assistant professors wanted to date her but she was a pre-medical student and she hit the books hard. When she did go on a date, it was usually for pizza and a movie with some young man in the same year as she, someone she liked as a person but had no mad crush on. 

Roslyn wanted to be a doctor, an eye specialist, with a concentration on retinal diseases because her father once came home from an eye examination to report that his eye doctor had discovered two tears in his right retina and had used a laser to repair them. Roslyn was impressed by the good the doctor had accomplished and she wanted to make the same difference in other people’s lives.

In medical school she had to study very hard. Roslyn was as bright as she was beautiful but medical school was the first time she had to buckle down academically. Previously she had earned good grades without working too hard. There was very little time in medical school to date although once again some younger professors tried hard to take her out. She always hoped her refusals wouldn’t affect her grades and she felt that her grades invariably were those she had earned. She had a knack for telling aspiring suitors “no” without offending them.

After medical school, she had to serve an internship that required long, unpredictable hours. Again, many doctors, single and otherwise, wanted to date her but Roslyn would have nothing to do with married men and she didn’t meet a single doctor she really liked. She explained this to her parents on trips home as well as to her girl friends from high school, many of whom were now married with children, who had thought Roslyn would be the first among them to marry and settle down.

When she went on to graduate work in the study of the eye, Roslyn found she had to study even harder. She didn’t date at all for fear of falling behind. What free time she had she spent watching television and eating pizza delivered from a nearby restaurant. She felt closer to her television set than she did to any man she had met so far. No question she liked men. But the right one had so far failed to distract her from her studies and goals in life.

Back home, her parents, once very concerned their daughter would date the wrong boy at too young an age, began now to worry they might never become grandparents. And her girl friends started questioning her as to when she was going to settle down. Some of them were downright nosy. Others wanted to fix her up. She politely refused all the help she was offered.

“First,” she told them, “I have to establish my practice and then I’ll have time to concentrate on finding the right guy. He’s out there, I’m sure. I’m 27 now and I want to have at least three children so I better get a move on.”

In two years Roslyn had quickly established an excellent practice. She had appointments booked months in advance. Other doctors referred especially difficult retina problems to her because she excelled in using the laser for making repairs. She was now a successful doctor but still as single as ever with no potential husband in sight.

The years went by and Roslyn became more and more successful and even dated decent men now and then. She found one man very interesting but he did not share her interest in public television and classical movies. Like many men he had an interest in sports events and was always changing the channel to some game. Roslyn liked sports and had played volleyball in high school and college but watching sports on TV held little interest for her. She liked to compete and she was too old now to play in any games.

Her father was the first to die without becoming a grandparent and two years later her mother passed away without any grandchildren. Roslyn was still steadfastly practicing medicine and was again ordering pizza in and watching television in her few hours of spare time. She had almost stopped dating because at age 48 she knew children were likely out of the question and she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life watching the Game of the Week. 

She took time out, however, to return to her hometown for the 30th anniversary of her high school graduation. She was surprised to see how many of her old classmates now had either a little or a lot of gray hair. Some men had paunches and many of the women were bigger than they had ever thought they would be. Bearing children can do that to a woman. Roslyn, however, was still slim and beautiful and gray hairs had yet to appear.

Most of her old girl friends had given up quizzing her as to why she had never married. But on the night of their class reunion she shared a table and a few bottles of wine with her three closest friends. One of them was a bit tipsy and leaned forward and looked Roslyn in the eye and asked,

“Roz, why the hell are you still single. Men forever have been chasing you. You’ve had a chance to meet some of the nicest men out there. And you’re still a bachelorette. Why?”

Roslyn was very sober as always and she took a minute to formulate her answer. She wanted to settle the issue once and for all. Finally she laid it on the table between the wine bottles and glasses.

“Ladies, I have met a lot of nice men but I have studied too hard and worked too hard to give up my remote.”

Two of the women laughed and one of them raised her glass and proposed a toast to liberation and possessing one’s own remote. Her husband had been in charge of their remote now for 26 years. He put it down, however, to father six wonderful children. She’d like to have her own remote but she preferred her children by a long shot. 

The tipsy girlfriend who had asked the question just shook her head in fake despair and gave Roslyn a skosh of too-late advice that had worked for her.

“By now you can afford to buy another one. I bought two in case my husband loses his between the cushions and wants to borrow mine."

Roslyn knew she could afford to buy a second remote. But that wouldn’t have helped her find the right man. He simply never appeared. At the moment, however, she was happy because now the quiz about why she was a bachelorette was finally over. And, frankly, she couldn’t wait to get home and watch “Gone with the Wind” for perhaps the 14th time. She certainly would have lent Clark Gable her remote for an evening or two at least. 

Donal Mahoney

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dr. Chapman’s Insight

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city where no one knew him when he opened his office but where today he was much appreciated by his patients. Many of them came from all over the state to see him.

Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses to assist him in his practice and went out of his way to hire those that might have had trouble being hired elsewhere due to discrimination. He was proud of his record and didn’t have much turnover in staff.

Between patients he and his nurses would often discuss weighty topics of the day, delving into difficult subjects such as religion and politics. Most of his nurses had tried at one time or another to get him to vote their way and they always tried to convince him to go to church, even if it wouldn’t be the church any of them attended. Dr. Chapman was always polite but always resisted their efforts.

One day Dr. Chapman got into an interesting discussion with Ruby, who had worked for him for 10 years. She was an excellent nurse who always assisted him perfectly in his outpatient procedures. He paid Ruby very well and valued her as a person and as an employee. Sometimes Ruby would bring extra food from home for lunch and microwave it for her and the doctor so he could try some of her cuisine, food he otherwise might not encounter since they came from very different backgrounds. He had grown to love her collard greens and cornbread. She could never bring too much of either.

One day after lunch, Ruby asked Dr. Chapman if murder was always wrong.

“It’s always wrong, Ruby, except in self defense. I think the death penalty is wrong, too. Why execute a killer when you can lock him up for life and give him hard labor. Any life is important.”

Ruby had brought the subject up because the day before someone in her neighborhood had killed a man who was notorious for stealing from his neighbors when they were not at home. Someone in a car drove by his house and shot him dead while he was getting his mail.

Dr. Chapman told Ruby that the neighbors should have called the police about the man and let them investigate. He might have been innocent and now he was dead.

“We did call the cops, Doctor, but they never could catch him. That’s why somebody killed him. No one knows for sure who did it but even if they did, no one would tell. You don’t snitch on anyone in my neighborhood.”

Dr. Chapman had worked in the area long enough to understand what Ruby was talking about. In fact, many of his patients came from her neighborhood as well as neighborhoods that had even more crime.

Lunch was over now and Dr. Chapman had a waiting room full of women ready to see him. He and Ruby would have a busy afternoon, no time for conversation. But he did have one more thing to say before she helped him don his surgical mask and gown.

“Ruby, before you go home tonight, please empty the bucket of fetuses. Tomorrow’s Friday and the garbage men will be coming around early.”

That was something Ruby did every night. She didn’t say anything but with her many years of experience, she didn’t have to be told. 

Donal Mahoney

Friday, January 16, 2015

I Am Guillotine

Sharp, cold, and quick, I do not believe
in mercy, only in the bleeding
dismemberment of threats to my world.
Friend or foe, makes no difference,
I am razored blade and hollow basket.  Swing
at me and I will swallow your head,
label it just another
bad memory time will eventually erase.

Mirror Mirror

I want to shatter the glass, myself,
and become the hammer that is
merely an extensive instrument of my self-
inflicted pain.

Because Judgment

is passed before I even open my mouth,
I prefer the righteous indignation of my own
silence.  You are not worth my words,
your eyes are deafened, your ears muted
by bigotry’s ugly umber.  Mine
is a beauty you will never decipher. 
I am cloud to your desert; star to your highway.
Your lacking cannot reflect me.  I am outside
your reach.  A ghost
                                 ly trail of abstraction.
A karma you, simply, lack.

A.J. Huffman

Thursday, January 15, 2015

     Doesn't anyone see the irony in,
As the remaining Boston Marathon brother goes to trial,
     Two siblings similarly, surgically slay twelve in Paris, in the name...
...Of too many Charlie Hebdo cartoons lampooning Mohammed being too vile.

     It was just a few weeks ago the subject of "depiction" came up,
How Kim Jong Un was portrayed in Sony's "The Interview,"
     The company's computer was hacked; death threats were made,
SO FAR the movie's release has not caused any violence to rue.

     But we may not be "out of the woods" just yet,
These resentments seem to fester awhile before they pop,
     Instead of quickly screaming "freedom of speech," no matter what, mindless megaphone,
Maybe we should quietly contemplate whether such mocking goes over the top.

     What is it they say, in polite conversation avoid politics and religion?
There's satire - and then there's just stupid and being a dope,
     Intentionally offending, disrespecting, massive insensitivity is called "asking for it,"
Provocation for the sake of what value beyond pushing the envelope?

     This is a good time to remember that post 9/11,
The question NEVER ALLOWED to be asked: why do "others" hate US so much?
     Perhaps all these "terrorist" attacks are an indication,
And will continue as long as the Western World remains so out of touch.

     Intolerance, works both ways,
Words are weapons with power - and responsibility attached,
     Instead of celebrating lives and deaths as either "good" or "evil,"
Time to look for where the schisms can be patched.

     At the other extreme, there's political correctness,
Either "say anything" or say "nothing" at all,
     Differences lead to distance, which leads to disenfranchisement,
Ditto, overaccommodation and varnished vernacular: a wall.

     Why can't we find a happy medium, civility...
...Empathy, commonality, so that all inhabitants of this planet can peacefully coexist?
     What we're doing's not working; doing it over and over's insane,
The result: 'round the globe, more and more people feeling dissed and pissed. 
Karen Ann DeLuca

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CONVEX AND THE BODY POLITIC     [Stefanie Bennett]
After all the faux pas the living polaris
Goes on extrapolating
The Undergrowth
Of bare-arsed wars
Denser than a hare’s breath,
Lighter than
Captivity’s raw innocence.
We wait. We wait for the thaw in the heart
Of another derelict season
But the elements,
Like run-away children,
Outwit us.
How long it is since the cricket
Brought good tidings!
What I need now is the hint of laughter
And my mother’s face
Framed by the fireside.
She’d know
What to do about
The evil eye
Catapulting over
The moon’s rock-of-ages.
... ‘Nettle soup
A despot’s whim –.’
Stark truism is
The stench that
GORILLAGRAM     [Stefanie Bennett]
... The generic-gentry
Of the synthetic age
Write trinket
Induced recitals.
Why is it so?
When work’s to be
Done, go
               - Bring out
And spade
... And don’t spare
The door
That’s ajar
At the furnace.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Is, Was, and Ever Shall Be

feel the drama,
forever drama –
from the womb
to the cradle
to the grave,
drama –
from the heights
to the abyss;
from the sex
to the worms,
drama –
from the desert wars
to the nuclear shelters in suburbia,
drama –
from the fire
to the flood;
from the liar
to the saint,

A Comforting Moment

He looked at her
and she looked at him
and they didn’t have to say a word
they just smiled at each other
for what did it matter
if the whole world
was burning all around them
for we are all
just dust and ash
in the end

Faith in the Tide

I don’t need
a rock
to hold to
I am riding waves.

Scott Thomas Outlar

     Why doesn't anyone see,
What is happening all over America today,
     Is over 50 years in the making,
Push back against the '60s; wanting society to go another way.

     Mostly subconscious, rarely expressed,
Turn the clock way, way, Back...
     ...lash against too much "progress" and "advancement,"
Could be why certain some ones are under attack.

     Trying to "have it all" leads to domestic "discord,"
White cops "carding" unarmed, young, Black males over race,
     The Civil Rights and Women's Movement be dammed,
Put "groups" back in their rightful place!

     Or don't let them in at all,
Witness the fight over allowing long time "illegals" to stay,
     Gentrify "others" out of sight, out of mind,
It seems it's only safe to come out these days if you're lesbian or gay!

     Afghanistan and Iraq were supposed to finally make up,
For the humiliation of the war in Vietnam,
     But turning our focus outward was only a distraction that ignored...
And contributed to the simmering domestic jam.

     Militaristic police, campus rapes, sexual assault in the military,
In this gun happy nation, we use violence to assert power and achieve cultural bliss,
     "Rogue cops," frat boys, and male soldiers disrespecting others' life,
Raised on tech, playing "human" video games, one less, "faceless," that no one will miss.
     Killings "provoked" by misperceptions and minor infractions,
Police shielded by "the law," America's Dad by his fame,
     Entitled athletes using women and children to practice their "hits,"
"This is who we are," - speak up now, or we have only ourselves to blame.

     With no real economic recovery for the 99%,
Is it no wonder attempted suppression makes the majority seethe,
     Buried in racial conflict, intergender tension, the whole country...
..crushed, is screaming a collective "I can't breathe."

     So what will it be? An "American Spring?"
Or the worst of today mixed with mid 20th Century old?
     "Enough is enough," at this tipping point the question becomes,
Will the momentum sustain - or just fold?
Karen Ann DeLuca

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...